There are a lot of great books written by atheist authors over the past few years. While I can’t say that reading any one particular book was the key to my own de-conversion from Judaism to atheism, I have heard from a lot of fellow atheists about how this book or that really got them thinking critically about religion and lead to their de-conversion. None of those books are going to be on my list.
Not only are none of the books that fellow atheists have testified to me as the key to their de-conversions going to be on my list, but not even all of the books on my list were even written by atheists. How crazy is that? Here we go in reverse order for dramatic affect.
5. A Universe From Nothing by Lawrence Krauss – This is a great book and yes, Krauss is definitely an atheist. This book is great for fundamentalists because it really lays out the evidence for the Big Bang Theory and destroys the First Cause Argument and the Argument by Design. That’s two of the big religious arguments out there. Of course there are Christians and other religious believers who already accept the Big Bang and modern science. This book is still really educational, but probably won’t sway the faith of liberal believers. I really do love how this book explains how we know what we know and that is something fundamental religious believers are really going to have to struggle with.
4. The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris – Atheists authors are starting out strong on this list. This book destroys C.S. Lewis’s Moral Law Giver Argument. It lays the groundwork for what secular morality is all about. Even if you don’t buy into the premise that science informs our understanding of morality, Harris reminds us of how we actually think about right and wrong. Harris may be off the rails on lots of other issues, but he nails it on this one.
3. Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman – Okay, Ehrman is sort of an atheist too (he actually considers himself to be an agnostic), but he did write an apologetic type book supporting the historicity of Jesus. Still, even though that book was pretty crappy, Misquoting Jesus is pretty good. This book undermines the credibility of the Gospels. If we can’t trust the Gospel account of Jesus’s teachings, then what account is there to trust? This book also exposes the fact that most religious leaders know this information and are purposefully keeping it a secret from their flock.
2. The Bible: A Biography by Karen Armstrong – Not an atheist! Armstrong is a former Catholic current… Spiritual Christian-lite? She also wrote an apologetic style book defending her belief in a deity. As ridiculous as that book may be, it is not the book that I am encouraging Christians to read today. The Bible: A Biography really goes into how the Old Testament was put together. Between Armstrong and Ehrman, the Bible is toast!
1. The King James Bible by multiple anonymous authors – I’m pretty sure none of the authors were atheists but I could be wrong. Let me state the obvious here. I think that Christians should read their Bibles cover-to-cover. I’m convinced that it is the most boring book ever written and I dare any Christian to make it through it. What is even more surprising is that it is filled with walking talking snakes, a wrathful deity, Nazi-like Romans, floods, monsters, and zombies and is still the most boring book on the planet. Not only that, it is ridiculously ridiculous. Yeah, that is how ridiculous the Bible is. You can multiply the ridiculousness by ridiculousness. I can’t believe anyone can actually believe this book. It is simply unbelievable.
I know a lot of Christians think they have read the Bible, but they really haven’t. I can’t imagine them sitting up in bed with “The Good Book” the way they do with a novel. No, they generally read a few verses here and there as “assignments” for Church or Bible Study – probably from a more sanitized edition. Then they have some religious leader tell them what that chapter actually meant because the Bible itself doesn’t really make any sense, is full of contradictions, is ridiculously ridiculous, and is boring as fuck! There is simply no way anyone can sit down and read this thing page-by-page and still believe it is in any way holy.
Bonus Book: How “God” Works: A Logical Inquiry on Faith by Marshall Brain — Simply put, this book is AWESOME!!! Brain even lays out a empirical test he discovered in the Bible to disprove God. That’s all I am going to say about that. Check it out!
Other Interesting Books: I have had the pleasure of interviewing and/or reviewing several interesting books (mostly, but now entirely from atheist authors). You can check out those articles HERE.